Classic, Fiction

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby book cover
Image from vickistracey.

Title:  The Great Gatsby

Author:  F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genre:  Classic

When Nick Carraway moves into West Egg, the house he lives in is right next door to the famous Jay Gatsby.  Nick had nothing to do with Gatsby, really, until he is invited to one of Gatsby’s frequent, popular parties.  As he gets to know Gatsby, he realizes that the man is pining after a past love, a second cousin of Nick’s named Daisy – a woman who is already married.  And Gatsby intends to use Nick to get to Daisy, one way or another…

I went into this book pretty hopeful.  My mom had read it back when she was in high school, and she said she remembered enjoying it.  I’m afraid I can’t say the same.

Nick Carraway was the only character I actually liked.  He was the only one who wasn’t…I suppose corrupted is a good word.  It also seemed like he was the only reoccurring character who didn’t have a lot of money.  He really didn’t seem interested in most of the “pop culture” of that era.  I think he hung out with Gatsby, Jordan, and the Buchanans (Tom and Daisy) only because they were people to hang out with.

I found Jay Gatsby rather annoying.  He was an older man, rich, with plenty of opportunities to do other things, yet he still chased a fantasy of his younger days.  Daisy was married, and he knew that, yet he still pined away after her.  All though the book, I kept wanting to yell at him and say, “Give up and move on, already!”  It was just pitiful, really, seeing a grown man miserable because he couldn’t give up on a dream from the past.

Tom Buchanan was a big, selfish brute of a man.  He was also a hypocrite – it was perfectly fine for him to be having an affair with another woman, but then he became angry and defensive when he realizes his wife might love another man.

I’m going to lump Daisy and Jordan Baker together, because their characters are about the same.  They’re both careless, carefree, tired, and bored.  They are unfeeling and selfish.  They think that their purpose in life is to have fun – actually, it seems that most of the characters think that.

I think the plot was okay, but I’m looking at it with a biased view.  The whole thing is based on immoral actions – Gatsby loves a married woman.  That really put the whole book in a negative light for me.  Then there’s Tom’s affair – with another married woman.   In order for me to really enjoy a story, there needs to be some morality.  The three deaths in the end really don’t add anything to the plot, and honestly, I really didn’t care one way or the other about the characters who died.

I found this book pitiful, sad, and depressing.  I can see how people who don’t care much about morality would like it more than I did.  But I don’t see how it became a classic.


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